Nicole J Simms/ January 8, 2019/ Blog/ 0 comments

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Reflection 2018 - My Writing Year

Happy New Year! I can’t believe 2018 is over. How did that happen? Either I was moving at snail pace, or the year flew by. Either way, 2018 has come and gone, and it’s now time to reflect on my 2018 writing year.

I wish I could say I did well with both my writing and reading goals, but (hangs head in shame), as you can see from my monthly goal reviews, I haven’t completed many of my goals.

I was overambitious. After failing to achieve much in 2017, I thought piling on loads of goals for 2018 would help make up for the lost year. I was wrong.

So, let’s see what happened in 2018.

My Writing Goals

  • Writing Goal 1: Finish editing my 1st novel & start submitting
    Result: This is my first fail, and the one I’m most disappointed about. I had dreams of completing the fourth, fifth and sixth draft of my novel and sending it out into the world of agents. However, that dream didn’t come true. Instead, I barely did much on my fourth draft.
  • Writing Goal 2: Write my 2nd standalone novel & start editing
    Result: I also didn’t complete this goal. I didn’t even manage to start writing the novel. I wasted a lot of time planning the novella, which I ended up deciding not to do (see below for details), so that didn’t leave much time for the second novel. And, when I was working on the novel, my mind struggled to focus on the task. However, even though I haven’t finished planning, I do feel more connected with my characters and the story.
  • Writing Goal 3: Write, edit, & submit my psychological horror novella
    Result: While working on this novella, it dawned on me that it was too similar to the second novel I was planning. So, I’ve decided to scrap that idea, and merge it with the second standalone novel.
  • Writing Goal 4: Create my fictional village for my supernatural mystery series
    Result: I did do some village building, but not much. Village building is hard. You have so much to consider. I don’t know how world builders do it. Tolkien, how did you do it? I will get back to it after I’ve finished planning my second standalone novel, though.
  • Writing Goal 5: Write the 1st novel in my supernatural mystery series
    Result: I didn’t complete this goal. I was meant to write the second standalone novel before this, but I didn’t manage to, so I wasn’t able to start on this one. Again, I was overambitious in thinking I could write two novels in a year. What was I thinking?
  • Writing Goal 6: Edit & self-publish my flash fiction collection
    Result: I had to put this project aside in 2018. There simply wasn’t enough time, or motivation to get it done.
  • Writing Goal 7: Plan 2nd novella
    Result: The second novella idea is now the first. I have a short story, which needs room to grow, so I’ve decided to turn this into a novella. Well, that’s the plan. I will be working on this one in the near future.
  • Writing Goal 8: Start planning 3rd standalone novel
    Result: Ha, like that was ever going to happen. It also doesn’t help that I keep changing my mind about which novel I want to work on next. I also keep getting new ideas for novels and novel series which don’t help.
  • Writing Goal 9: Edit my current short stories
    Result: While I didn’t edit all of my current short stories, I did edit and submit some of them, so that’s a half tick, right?
  • Writing Goal 10: Edit stories & poems for Oldbury Writing Group anthology
    Result: Yes, I finally achieved this goal thanks to there being a deadline. We are hoping to have our next anthology published sometime soon. It was because of this anthology that I had to stop with the flash fiction collection. Due to the deadline, and not wanting to let the other members down, I needed to prioritise this project.
  • Writing Goal 11: Keep writing blog up-to-date and redesign website
    Result: Yes, and yes again. While I have not added a blog post every single week, I did manage to do at least two to three posts a month, so that’s not too bad. I also redesigned my website, but I still need to edit my current pages and add a new author photo.
  • Writing Goal 12: Work on playwriting skills
    Result: I soon realised at the beginning of the year that I wouldn’t be able to work on my playwriting skills, so I’ve put that on hold for now. I hope I can return to this soon, possibly next year, but we’ll see. Sadly, I can’t clone myself yet.
  • Writing Goal 13: Add monthly stories on writing blog
    Result: I did this until April 2018. I then had to stop because I was struggling to write and edit a monthly story, work, and do my other writing projects. So, instead of turning myself crazy, I decided to stop doing the monthly stories. I do plan to return to adding stories, but I want to first make audio recordings of the stories already on my website.

My Reading Goals

  • Reading Goal 1: Complete my Goodreads challenge – read 15 books
    Result: I completed this challenge. In fact, I managed to read 16 books.
  • Reading Goal 2: Complete my female horror author reading list
    Result: This is another green tick. I read all the female horror authors on my reading list. However, I had to change some of the authors and books I planned to read because they weren’t always available in the library.
  • Reading Goal 3: Read more short stories
    Result: Yes, I completed this goal too. I read the top 10 classic short stories.
  • Reading Goal 4: Read more indie authors
    Result: No, I didn’t manage to complete this goal. I did, however, read some short stories written by indie authors, so I’ll give myself a half tick.
  • Reading Goal 5: Read more poetry
    Result: I did read a few poems last year, but it wasn’t enough to mark this goal as complete.
  • Reading Goal 6: Read 5 fantasy authors I haven’t read before
    Result: This is another goal fail. With the female horror author reading list, and reading the new books I bought, I didn’t have time to move to my fantasy author reading list, but I still plan to do it. You learn a lot about the genre you write, and writing in general, when you read authors you haven’t read before. You can also find new favourites. For example, I never knew about Kelley Armstrong before I decided to read four books a month from the library, and after reading her books, she became one of my favourite authors.
  • Reading Goal 7: Write more book reviews
    Result: This is another green tick. After reading an author from my female horror reading list, I would review the book and upload to my website. I also added reviews for other books I’ve read on the Goodreads website.

The Oldbury Writing Group

The Oldbury Writing Group

[The Oldbury Writing Group]

While I didn’t do too great with my own writing projects, 2018 was another successful year for the Oldbury Writing Group. What would I do without this group, hey? We put together our second anthology titled Naked Words and Empty Cages, which we hope to publish early this year. We’ve gone on many amazing trips, such as Kinver, Steelhouse Lane Lock-up, Leasowes Park and Sandwell Valley. We had a talk about the benefits of joining a writing group at the second Wolverhampton Literature Festival. And Angela (group leader) and her friend Maddie have organised a monthly poetry open mic. Many of the members, including myself, have gone to the open mics and enjoyed reading out our poems and stories — it’s a good night for all. I can’t wait to see what we achieve in 2019.

So, as you can see, 2018 didn’t really go to plan. However, I’m not going to be too hard on myself because I did manage to complete some of my goals. I just think my main issues were being overambitious, having limited time and lacking motivation. Also, I may not have completed some goals, but I did manage to move forward in most of them, such as my novel. They may have been small steps forward, but a small step forward is better than not moving at all. So, I’m going to, for once in my life, pat myself on the back for what I achieved instead of beating myself up for what I didn’t do. Well done, Nicole, and don’t give up. You know, that actually feels good. You should try it.

How did you do with your 2018 writing goals? I hope you did well. Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear how everyone else is doing.

Keep writing, folks!

Oh, and before I go, if you want email alerts of my latest posts, then please subscribe. And don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter, or like my Facebook page.

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